Prize-Winning Novelist Says Girls Are Ready to Give Birth at 14
British author Hilary Mantel says society is too critical about teenage pregnancies and that girls as young as 14 are perfectly capable of having children.
At 14-years old, some of us were still afraid to talk to boys or had just recently had our first kiss. But, according to Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall for which she won a Man Booker Prize last year, it’s the perfect age to start having children.
Mantel, 57, made this controversial statement to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph: “Having sex and having babies is what young women are about, and their instincts are suppressed in the interests of society’s timetable… men’s lives have set the time table.”
She went on to say that young girls probably want to start having kids in their teens and twenties, but can’t because of societal norms. She also stated that we’re “incredibly hypocritical” about teen pregnancies and teenage sex.
“I was perfectly capable of setting up and running a home when I was 14, and if, say, it had been ordered differently, I might have thought ‘Now is the time to have a couple of children and when I am 30 I will go back and I’ll get my PhD,'”she told the Telegraph.
Mantel made these comments in reference to Britain having the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe, with 40.4 of every 1,000 girls aged 15-17 becoming pregnant, according to statistics gathered in 2008. The British government is doing what it can to lower these numbers, and has recently promised to increase sex education and offer contraception methods such as condoms in schools.
However, we agree with Sue MacDonald of the Royal College of Midwives who said in response to Mantel’s comments, “Having a baby is a life-changing experience and 14-year-olds have enough to cope with just being 14… It is much harder to be a parent if your own childhood is not complete.” (UK Daily Mail)